Kakwenza Rukirabashaija

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 13th January 2022.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the arrest of Kakwenza Rukirabashija in Uganda; what steps her Department is taking to secure his release; and what recent representations her Department has made on the conditions in which Kakwenza Rukirabashaija is detained in Uganda and the legality of his detention in Ugandan law.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

We are concerned that the Ugandan novelist, Kakwenza Rukirabashija, following a series of tweets, was detained at his home on 28 December 2021 and then held without charge for 14 days at an unknown facility. Using legislation, such as the Computer Misuse Act, to stifle freedom of expression is very worrying. We welcome the decisions of the Chief Magistrate's Court and the High Court in relation to Rukirabashija's release and habeas corpus. We note, however, that Rukirabashija was subsequently charged and placed on remand.

We urge the Government of Uganda to ensure that the rule of law is upheld as a vital component of democracy. Rukirabashija must be afforded all of his rights under the Constitution of Uganda, including access to legal representation. Our High Commission in Kampala issued a tweet on 7 January publicly stating our concern over Rukirabashija's continued detention. The High Commission has also set out our concerns over his detention with the Government of Uganda, Uganda's human rights institutions and the security services. We have urged all to ensure that Uganda honours its constitutional commitments and international human rights law.

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